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What Can I do With My Philadelphia Will?

Posted on Tue Jun 3, 2014, on Estate Planning

From Our “Ask a Question” mailbag: “What Can I do With My Philadelphia Will?”

Most recently updated on June 8th, 2018.

What Can I do with My Philadelphia Will

What Can I do with My Philadelphia Will? Photo by Roman Kraft.

“I have lived in Philadelphia my entire life without a Will. Now it is time to write a Will, but I am not sure what it does.  What Can I do with My Philadelphia Will?”

What Can I do with My Philadelphia Will?

When most Philadelphians think about a will, they imagine a document that spells out how they wish their assets to be divided. While this is true, a well-crafted will can do so much more.

Depending on the client’s goals, assets and family situation, wills can vary significantly in complexity. At an elementary level, a will can be a “simple will,” meaning that it is a will that gives all assets outright to one or more persons. In the alternative, a will can create protective voluntary disclaimer trusts to shelter assets for a surviving spouse and dynasty trusts to protect assets for descendants.

Some Things You Can Put In Your Will.

Besides providing for the dispersion of your property at your death, your will can accomplish many other important goals:

  • Designate Guardians:

    • Your will may designate a guardian of the person for your minor children (You do not need to nominate a guardian that lives in Philadelphia). If you have not chosen such a guardian, a judge from the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court will oversee a hearing (or series of conferences) to determine in the best interest of the child who should serve as the guardian. This process can be an expensive process, and the person selected might not be the person that you would have nominated.
  • Your will may designate the executor:

    • Your executor does not need to be a Philadelphia resident. You may also provide in your will that the executor does not need to obtain a bond.
  • Provide for People That Would Not Receive Under the Intestacy Rules.

    • Your will can provide for persons who would not normally inherit from you, such as friends, charities or stepchildren. Without a will, your assets pass through intestacy and would go to family members.
  • Create Protective Trusts.

    • In your will, you can set up protective trusts for your heirs.  These trust can shelter the gifts you are giving from their creditors, spouses, and future taxes. Without these trusts, your assets would pass outright to family members and be available to their creditors’ claims.

Once you realize that a will can be much more than a “simple will”,”you may wish to explore the possibilities. By consulting with a Philadelphia estate-planning attorney, you can transform your will from a cookie cutter document that does not reflect your exact wishes, into a document that is an accurate representation of your preferences. This new document can provide protection and safety to your heirs.

More Planning Questions?

If you have more estate planning questions, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning, Everything You Need to Know.

In Conclusion: What Can I do with My Philadelphia Will.

In this article, I tried to answer the question, What Can I do with My Philadelphia Will. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. So, let me know how I did, comments and questions are welcome! I hope it helped! 

If you have more questions about wills and estate planning, let our Estate Planning Lawyers help walk you through the confusing process.  Our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. 

Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!


Estate Planning, Estate Planning Attorney, Estate Planning Lawyer, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Wills

Peter KlenkPeter Klenk

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